aka The Frazzled Mom
“I want you to live forever,” she said while lying in the dark room, stifling a cry.
We’d just settled in for the night, my daughter and I. I’ve lost count on how many nights I’ve had to share my bed with her. I’d gone through this with my son, but time seems to have dulled my memory a bit. Was it this bad? I remember the pain in my back after sleeping on the edge of his bed all night, never falling off but right on the cusp. It’s a talent that only moms can pull off. With my daughter, it was a little easier to give in, because we had an extra bed. With my son, I didn’t have many choices: the edge of his bed or the floor. I’ve done both. And both were uncomfortable.
I could see the silhouette of my daughter’s face thanks to the night-light. She was staring up at the ceiling, her lashings fluttering rapidly. Her little chest rose and fell before she spoke again.
“I don’t want you to die,” she barely got out before she broke down in tears.
What do you say to an eight-year-old that fears the death of a loved one? How can someone so young properly cope? I’ve read that having pets is a way for kids to discover death and learn to go through the grieving process. But she hadn’t really gotten there, not yet. We’d lost our awesome St. Bernard, Duke, a couple of years ago. She grieved for maybe 5 minutes and then turned around and asked when could we get another dog. She was six then. In such a short time, now she’s fretting over illness and death or people coming in the night to hurt me.
As a mother, I don’t want to lie to my child. But the alternative is blunt honesty? I suck at this parenting thing. “Everybody dies” isn’t reassuring to a child, regardless of its truth. I swear, my daughter wants me to be like the 12th Doctor, but even he didn’t last more than 2 seasons. Grrrr (I have a great attitude).
My daughter’s wishes are as follows:
What’s funny is that I remember saying the exact same thing to my parents: I don’t ever want to get married. I just want to live here, at home, forever. And I remember my mom’s response. “That’s ok with me.”
I think of her response…followed by my teenage years where she drove me up the wall (and I, her). And I hesitate to give that same sentiment to my daughter. Instead, I feel like saying, “Eh, this feeling will pass and within a few years, you’ll hate me and wish you could move out.” But for this little girl, that doesn’t make sense right now. So there’d be no point in predicting an almost certain future that’s repeated throughout history between a teenager and their mother.
So, for the moment, my daughter is going to live with me and never move out. Guess that means I won’t be back in my own bed for quite a while.